Movie critic Roger Ebert summed it up very succinctly: "Of all of the Star Trek movies, this is the worst." Subsequent films in the popular series have done nothing to disprove this opinion; we can be grateful that they've... more » all been significantly better since this film was released in 1989. After Leonard Nimoy scored hits with Star Trek III and IV, William Shatner used his contractual clout (and bruised ego) to assume directorial duties on this mission, in which a rebellious Vulcan (Laurence Luckinbill) kidnaps Federation officials in his overzealous quest for the supreme source of creation. That's right, you heard it correctly: Star Trek V is about a crazy Vulcan's search for God. By the time Kirk, Spock, and their Federation cohorts are taken to the Great Barrier of the galaxy, this journey to "the final future" has gone from an embarrassing prologue to an absurd conclusion, with a lot of creaky plotting in between. Of course, die-hard Trekkies will still allow this movie into their video collections; but they'll only watch it when nobody else is looking. After this humbling experience, Shatner wisely relinquished the director's chair to Star Trek II's Nicholas Meyer. --Jeff Shannon« less
Erik Morton | Carmel, CA United States | 08/12/2003
(5 out of 5 stars)
"First off, THE FINAL FRONTIER is by far the most underrated of the Star Trek films, as well as one of the most underrated films ever made. Sure, it's the most flawed of the Trek adventures (mainly in the field of special effects, which really[is bad], and the trashy, anticlimactic ending). But it also has a lot going for it: the best character interplay between Kirk/Spock/McCoy ever, more screen time for the other crew members than in the previous films, and the return of Jerry Goldsmith (without a doubt the greatest Star Trek composer ever).But it is actually because of all of STAR TREK V's flaws that I have longed for this DVD above all the rest of Paramount's line of Special Collector's Edition Star Trek DVDs. I'm eagerly awaiting learning all about the film's troubled production and Paramount's butchering of the budget. It may help to improve my (as well as countless others') opinion on the film.But I must admit that I am extremely disappointed in Paramount's decision not to grant William Shatner a Director's Edition. I mean, they gave one to THE WRATH OF KHAN, for God's sake! Though a DE is always welcome, the film was is no need of one! It was perfect as it was. Meanwhile, they deny a DE of THE FINAL FRONTIER, the most in need of new special effects, added scenes, digitally remastering, and all other aspects of a DE. Oh well . . . . . . I take what I can get.Here's the run-down on the Special Features (not yet posted on Amazon.com), and judging from them, I'd say this looks to be the best Star Trek DVD yet:Disc 1
*The original theatrical version, presented in widescreen format enhanced for 16:9 televisions. Sound is Dolby Digital English 5.1, English and French Dolby Surround.
*Commentary by William Shatner and Liz Shatner (daughter and author of "Captain's Log - William Shatner's personal account of the making of Star Trek V - The Final Frontier")
*Text commentary by Michael Okuda and Denise Okuda, co-authors of the "Star Trek Encyclopedia."Disc 2
THE STAR TREK UNIVERSE:
*"Herman Zimmerman: A Tribute" - An examination of the visual influences production designer, Herman Zimmerman, has had on Star Trek since he first joined the Trek family on "Star Trek V." This retrospective illustrates what Mr. Zimmerman has contributed to not only the Star Trek features but also the TV series The Next Generation, Deep Space Nine and Enterprise. Includes interviews with Zimmerman, John Eaves (concept artist), Harve Bennett (producer), Penny Juday (project coordinator) and Michael Okuda (scenic artist).
*"Original Interview: William Shatner" - An original, unedited interview with William Shatner, filmed during the production of "Star Trek V."
*"Cosmic Thoughts" - In "Star Trek V," the crew of the Enterprise are searching for God and, as it turns out, spirituality has its place in the universe of Star Trek. This featurette examines the theme of religion throughout the TV series, the Star Trek movies and the annals of science fiction as a whole. Interviews include Ray Bradbury (sci-fi author), David Brin (scientist, sci-fi author), Frank Drake (head of SETI Institute), Charles Beichman (JPL, Terrestrial Planet Finder Project), Ted Peters (Exo-Theologists teaching at Berkeley), Eugene W. Roddenberry (son of Gene Roddenberry), Louis Friedman (executive director of the Planetary Society), Ralph Winter (executive producer) and David Loughery (screenwriter).
*"That Klingon Couple" - Actors Spice Williams and Todd Bryant reminisce about when they portrayed Klingons Captain Klaa and Vixis.
*"The Green Future?" - "Star Trek V" opens on location in Yosemite National Park and an environmental tone is woven throughout the film. This featurette gives a snapshot of the global environment of the future. Interviews include David Siegenthaler (Yosemite ecologist), Richard Turco (UCLA Institute of the Environment) and Julia Parker, a Native American spokesperson with insights into Man's impact on the environment.PRODUCTION:
*Harve Bennett's Pitch To Sales Team - A pep talk by producer Harve Bennett to the Paramount sales team, firing them up about "Star Trek V: The Final Frontier."
*The Journey - Behind-The-Scenes Documentary - Memories of how "Star Trek V" was conceived, produced and directed. Interviews include William Shatner (director), Leonard Nimoy (actor), Ralph Winter (executive producer), Harve Bennett (producer), David Loughery (screenwriter), Michael Okuda (scenic artist), Andrew Lazlo (cinematographer), John Eaves (concept artist) and Herman Zimmerman (production designer).
*Make-Up Tests - An assembly of camera tests for various characters from the film.
*Per-Visualization Models - Spaceship model makers rehearse special effects moves with models.
*Rock Man In the Raw - Design elements and test footage of the aborted Rock Man costume.
*"Star Trek V" Press Conference - A reconstruction of the multi-camera press conference held on the last day of shooting for "Star Trek V" and hosted by William Shatner.
*Deleted Scenes - A variety of deleted scenes from "Star Trek V."ADVERTISING
*Trailers - The teaser trailer, theatrical trailer and the trailer for "The Complete Adventures of Indiana Jones".ARCHIVES
*Production Gallery - An assembly of stills and footage that capture behind-the-scene moments of production.
Cap'tin!, I canna take much more!
isellbooks64 | Danville, VA USA | 11/08/2001
(1 out of 5 stars)
"So much potential, wasted. This could've been a really good film if only. If only they'd thrown out everything, or at least almost everything. Here's a few of things that will take away from your enjoyment of Star Trek 5, LAMBADA, I mean "The Final Frontier"The special effects are sub par. There's a few shots of the Enterprise near the beginning that aren't bad, particularly the beauty shot of the ship and the moon, nice touch. But unfortunately, it's one of the few actual shots of the Enterprise you will see in ST5. Here's a hint for the producers of Trek. Fans like the ship, we like to see the ship, please include exterior shots of the ship in your films whenever possible. Other effects include the horrible "planet" beyond the "great effects barrier" that looks more like a visual depiction of Vicks Vapor-action than a planet. Really all the effects seem quite crude in comparison to other trek films; maybe they blew the budget getting Shatner to direct.The story lacks a villain. Sybok, the happy Vulcan, is about as close as you'll get to one here. The problem with Sybok is, he really isn't dangerous and you'll find his laugh intoxicating. There's also a stupid sub-plot with a rogue Klingon; Captain Krunch or something like that. He's about as threatening as a french poodle with the hairstyle to match. Cap'n Krunch's main purpose in this movie seems to be to blast an ancient Voyager-style space probe(like V'Ger from ST:TMP) into bits. Maybe in a future film a Voyager-style probe will be kind enough to blast an ancient copy of ST5 into dust. There's an even more stupid sub, sub-plot involving the Klingon William Conrad, the henchman from Titanic and some Romulan Babe on planet Nimrod-3 which looks a lot like Tatooine. Its all pretty lame! And just who are these people? This movie was made in 1989, which means the original series had been out of production for 20 YEARS when this came out. Did the writers never watch this show? Hardly any of the characters in Star Trek 5 even remotely resemble the original series characters. Examples:A) - Capt. Kirk is now into rock climbing (something never before mentioned). He's annoyed that Starfleet would call him to deal with an alien threat, completely contradicting already established movies where Kirk couldn't wait to get out there and kick some alien can! And Kirk's relationship to Spock and Bones seems more like Moe's relationship to Larry and Curly in this movie.B) - Spock now has a brother, Sybok, who he never saw fit to mention before. Spock chooses not to shoot Sybok and save the ship. So what happened? Did the emotionless Mr. Spock have a bad feeling about shooting an intruder? Is this the same Spock that would have let his own father die (in "Journey to Babel") rather than relinquish the helm to Scotty for a few hours? I guess we could blame this on that "being dead and brought back to life thing." I choose to blame Shatner instead.C) - Scotty, what the hell is your deal. You can repair the transporter when the damn Doomsday Machine is blastin' chunks outta the hull, but you can't fix it in dry-dock? And what about all the other malfunctions on board? Mr. Scott is supposed to be the "miracle worker", yet he can't even keep the Captain's palm pilot from self-destructing. Scotty! Quit sniffin' around Uhura and get to work!D) - Sulu, Uhura and Chekov seem a bit different too, but maybe that's because they actually get to do something in this film, which I guess is good except there is a weird and disturbing Scotty/Uhura romance hinted at and possibly even a Sulu/Chekov! (what are they doing out in the woods alone?) Dr. McCoy seems cranky, which is at least normal behavior for him.E) - The U.S.S. Enterprise NCC-1701-A: WHAT THE HELL? Somehow the whole ship undergoes a facelift from the last movie, the bridge is completely changed and somebody has added like a hundred extra decks and steering wheel, and nothing works right. To quote Kirk "Starfleet has a lot of nerve sending us out in this condition..." Damn straight! What happened? Did they buy the parts from some Ferengi huckster?Finally the whole plot is just bloody dull! Sybok the happy Vulcan is looking for the Supreme Being (God) on planet Shakaree, the previously mentioned Vicks Vapor-Action planet of heavenly lint. Sybok and his followers take over the Enterprise with relative ease, then sets a course for the "great big effect barrier" Kirk, Spock, and McCoy eventually make nice with him, all go down to planet Vapor-rub, they find out that "God" is really a hairy thunderer in a Santa suit, Sybok croaks everybody is happy, the end. SNORE! It's just all really sad. It's as though no one making Star Trek 5 had ever seen Star Trek before, there's no clever new gadgets, no socially relevant commentary, no sir, NO NOTHING! No vision of the future to make us gasp in awe, even the heavenly lint ball planet looks nasty. This place is supposed to look like Heaven, but it looks more like Death Valley shot through a pair of Ray-Bans. Fortunately, this film can be missed without missing anything. It adds nothing to the Star Trek mythos and should be written off as Kirk's fever dream. I'm a trekkie, and I even own a copy of this movie, but Star Trek 5: The Final Frontier is neither final, nor frontier. It's just bad."
Better Than Its Reputation
Erik Morton | 09/12/1999
(4 out of 5 stars)
"Kirk v. God, and Kirk wins? An egotistical set up for a movie, but Trek V is better than it's reputation. The film has several positive attributes which are often overlooked:1) A strong emphasis on character development, particularly with Spock, Kirk and McCoy. The campfire scenes are classic, and there are few moments in the film series which match the drama of McCoy confronting his "inner pain."2) Final Frontier was the closest in spirit to the original series. The plot and (unfortunately) the special effects are reminiscent of such classic Trek episodes as "Who Mourns For Adonis."3) Sybok, the "passoinate Vulcan" and half-brother of Spock, is an intriguing antagonist for the main characters.4) Jerry Goldsmith delivered what I feel is his best Trek score for this installment.What's keeping this movie from being one of the best in the Trek cannon?1) The worst special effects put on film since the invention of the motion control camera.2) A somewhat anti-climactic climax. (The original script called for a big FX battle between Kirk and a flock of gargoyles summoned by the God Monster, but it was cut for budget.)3) Not revealing Kirk's "secret pain" feels like a cheat (although his "I need my pain" speech was good).4) A couple of embarrasing moments for the Trek supporting crew-- Scotty bonks his head and knocks himself out? Uhura, who otherwise gets her best Trek movie role, as an exotic dancer? Puh-lease!We'll never see it, but it would be great if Paramount would spend a few million to create a "special edition" with improved special effects and the original ending.While they're at it, could they throw in a couple thousand to remaster the film for DVD? It looks like a bad copy of the laserdisc-- the "widescreen" is masked off from a 4x3 frame instead of enhanced for 16x9. The image itself is very grainy and a bit washed out."
Moronic, or Misunderstood?
Mark Savary | Seattle, WA | 11/21/2003
(4 out of 5 stars)
"With the new release of the Special Collector's Edition of Star Trek V on DVD, I thought it would be a good time to review the picture.What can I say? ST:5 is weak on many levels. First, the ship's crew is way too small, less than a skeleton crew (they had like, what, five trainees besides the Classic cast?). Second, the ship is far more buggy than it should be. It's not as if General Dynamics builds these things, after all, it's suppossed to be a starship! A few bugs, sure, but to be in as bad a shape as the new ship is strains credibility.Then there's the whole "barrier" thing. As any Trek fan worth his toy tricorder knows, the "barrier" is not at the center of the galaxy, but at the edge. It's also supposed to be pink, not Indiglo blue. Of course, they simply should have called this new "barrier" something else, but be that as it may, this kind of slip highlights a certain basic sloppiness in the production. Also, the ship gets there way too quickly, and the skeleton crew is subverted to Sybok's vision too easily (is only Kirk capable of putting up a fight?). And what about Sybok? "Where'd he come from?!" (or so I asked when I first saw the picture). Another good question would be, "Where'd he get all this power?! Regular Vulcans don't have it, so why should he?" There's plenty of dopiness on hand to be sure, but if I had to point out any one element that brings the picture down, it would have to be the effects. As Shatner himself comments in one of the featurettes on the new disc, they "were not well-served" by the New Jersey-based effects team hired for the film. They were out of their league, and it shows.The effects range from really interesting to really bad. The more interesting ones are almost totally confined to the luminous dyes and other elements used on the "God" planet. The worst effects are reserved for the starships. For example, when the Enterprise escapes a Kingon torpedo, the ship looks clunky and "pasted" onto the backgrounds, the sudden motion not realistic or believeable. Other shots share the poor movement, and the shabby lighting of the models just adds to the cheap-o look of the movie.As for the entity imprisoned on Shakaree, it's a plot point taken directly from one of the animated Trek episodes, and was adapted into one of the "Log" books which recounted the animated episodes in novel-length form.So, what we have here is a pretty weak Trek, with bad effects and a mish-mosh of dull plot points. On the other hand, out of all the Trek movies, ST:5 feels the most like a television episode (no doubt, due mostly to Shatner's directing experience up to that point). Lukinbill's Sybok is really a pretty interesting character. His ability to control others through charisma is excellently portrayed, too.The Yosemite elements at the beginning and end of the film are the best and most personal depiction of the interaction between the triad of Kirk, Spock, and McCoy. The "visions" of Spock and McCoy are pretty powerful (some of Spock's vision were cut, and are on Disc 2 as an extra). The attack on Paradise City is well staged. Lots of action, and when Kirk gets attacked by the cat dancer, you don't even wonder why he went in the bar without having his phaser drawn. The humor used throughout the picture is also right on the money. But despite all of the plusses, the film just doesn't seem to overcome all of the minuses. The film strikes an odd note at best, and is the pariah of Trek movies at the worst.The DVD treatment of the film in the new 2-disc set is very nice. The animated menus are probably some of the best in the Trek movie sets so far, and there are plenty of interesting elements. Besides the usual intellegent documentaries (one dealing with the search for God), the Kingon couple is interviewed, and the "making of" documentary is comprehensive, (if a bit one-hand-tied-behind-its-back). Deleted scenes are on Disc 2 (pretty much all but the extended Spock-vision deserved to be cut, I think), and there is some rock-man footage that shows us what the monsters were supposed to have looked like. There is also a press conference held on the ST:5 bridge, and a video pitch from Harve Bennett to the Paramount sales staff. The extras earn it an extra star, I think, the movie being a "3".The disc is worth adding to your collection, especially for Classic Trek fans. Time may have afforded fans the ability to forgive the film somewhat, as it is a product from the pre-sickeningly PC Trek of the 90's and today that fans are forced to suffer. Time may also help the fan hate the bad elements of the movie less, and appreciate the good elements of the movie more.So is ST:5 moronic, or just misunderstood? Frankly, the answer is "both," but it's still strangely worth watching."
A Most Underrated Film
Peter Moore | Washington DC | 10/11/2003
(3 out of 5 stars)
"It's so popular to hate The Final Frontier that it's become a cliche. But I say this hatred is largely unfounded. This movie has many of the elements that make Star Trek great: an epic story, action and suspense, a search for the unknown, and most importantly, exploration of the bonds of friendship. There are plot holes. There are parts that are downright unbelievable. And there are parts that make no sense whatsoever, even in the context of the Star Trek universe (for one thing, the center of the galaxy is supposed to be thousands of light years away in the Next Generation and Voyager - a journey measured in years - but the crew of the Enterprise-A can reach it in about a half hour). The exact nature of what they find inside the Barrier is also never made clear. And some of the dialogue and situations are downright hokey.But what's good about No. 5? First of all, the music is outstanding - Jerry Goldsmith at his best. Second, the directing is truly not bad, especially for being Shatner's first feature film. Certain moments even show a sign of brilliance, such as a long shot of the crew of the Enterprise staring at the viewscreen, watching the discovery being made, with the camera slowly zoomin in on an un-noticed sensor picking up a Klingon vessel closing in, with a faint hint of Goldsmith's Klingon Theme creeping in just as the Bird of Prey appears on sensors.The movie is decidedly more lighthearted in tone than the others, except maybe for No. 4 - the Voyage Home. As another reviewer once said, it seemed like they tried to artificially capture the humor from the 4th film, and that's probably fair. But that does not make it all together unentertaining. Lines such as "I liked him (Spock) better before he died," and "Spock: I am well versed in the classics. McCoy: Then how come you don't know Row, Row, Row Your Boat?" still resonate with me as classic moments from the classic cast. Compared to other Trek films, this one does leave much to be desired. It doesn't have the drama and epic battles of Khan. It doesn't have the cleverness of Voyage Home. It lacks the political intrigue of the Undiscovered Country. But against the other "weak" films, a.k.a. the odd numbered ones as many Trek fans like to say, this movie holds its own - compared to The Motion Picture, The Search for Spock, Generations, and Insurrection, I think this movie has many advantages.This is a must have to complete your Star Trek collection, and should not be reviled as a necessary evil. Every Star Trek story (be it an episode or a movie) has its own charm, and this is certainly no exception. Don't expect rivetting drama, but do expect an entertaining, mostly lighthearted story with a modicum of suspense and wonder."